Thursday, January 27, 2011

Still biking daily

After about a week even I had to admit that blogging about each day's ride was monotonous, boring and overall, pointless. Compounding to that was the fact that I generally ride the same route each day, so I didn't even have that extra variety to talk about.

I am still biking though. Every day, rain or shine. After all, I live in Vancouver. I'm not faced with horrifically cold temperatures like the rest of my family is right now. I don't have to shovel a path to ride on. I have most of the gear needed to keep me comfortable for the duration of my ride. I feel lucky to be able to do this daily.

Even better, now the sun is starting to be up when I'm on my ride. It's still mostly dark, but now I can see the glow through the clouds in the east and by the time I return home I am able to turn off my lights.

Monday, January 24, 2011

A little story about Telus Mobility

So today I get an email from Telus Mobility. I think this is odd, since I do not have a telus cell phone, but maybe it has something to do with our home bundle, which we did recently update. No, it turns out that wasn't the case at all, so I ended up calling Telus Mobility to straighten out the matter. I figured it would be a quick call.

Turns out it was a quick way to elevate my blood pressure. Once we sorted out that I was not in fact the same person they had on file (address didn't match) I figured it would be over. But no, the helpful gentleman on the other end of the phone then suggested that I call Google instead, as clearly this was an email problem because me and the other fellow obviously had the same email address. I was stunned. I had to slow down my speaking a bit, not because I thought he was stupid (at this point I kind of did think that) but because I wanted to control what I was saying. I explained again that this was not an email problem and that the only thing wrong with my email account was that Telus Mobility was spamming me with their email. I further explained that it would be in their interest to contact the other person with my name to get the correct email address as the one they had on file was wrong.

The representative then informed me that he could not contact the account holder.

"Doesn't he have a cell phone with you guys?" I asked.

Anyway, I hope it's been sorted out. Good luck with contacting your customer, Telus Mobility. I'm thinking you might need it.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Losing the sun for a few days won't be my idea of a good time

Temp: -1 deg
Precip: overcast

I saw that the temperature was below zero today and may have over reacted a little bit. I put on all of my winter gear. Consequently, I was too warm by the end of my ride. Not the worst case scenario, but I do make a note of it because I likely could have gone without one of the sweaters. For the record, I had shorts, knee warmers, thick sweat pants and my rain pants paired with a t-shirt, cycling jersey, arm warmers, sweatshirt, sweater, rain shell and coat on top. I went with double gloves and was also wearing the toque under my helmet. No scarf today.

I wear the rain garb when it is cold in part because it helps break the wind. Without it, the cold air cuts right through any sweaters I might have on. By the time I was doing my final climb back to the condo I had a couple of my layers partially unzipped to help regulate my temperature. By the end of the ride I had the peculiar sensation of being both too hot and too cold at the same time. While I didn't hate it, I can't say that it was one of my more enjoyable rides to date.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Not quite freezing, but damn close

Temp: 4 degrees
Precip: none, overcast

I went with the same gear as yesterday and concluded that today's ride was the absolute coldest I can endure with only a few layers. I was cold everywhere but was able to continue on. Next time I ride at 4 degrees I will make sure I have a pair of sweat pants on in addition to my other riding gear. Also, the single pair of gloves was barely adequate and a couple times I had to stop to blow warm air in them, or ball my hands into fists to keep my fingers from freezing.

Oddly, I am not able to get new podcasts from CBC today. Not sure what is up with that, but I set out on my ride without the usual compliment of news bulletins. Luckily I did have a half watched episode of Kevin Pollak's Chat Show, as well as a podcast from Search Engine. Those carried me through to near the end of the ride, so I was ok.

But I still missed my news from CBC.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Back to the Monday routine

Temp: 8 degrees
Precip: Overcast, intermittent showers, very little rain

I woke up feeling tired this morning, but headed out anyway. Last night I managed to wake up my wife with my snoring again and she was less than pleased, so it wasn't like I could skip out on my exercise even if I wanted to.

Of course, as usual, once I was underway things got better. What little rain I encountered early on was all but gone by the time I got to the park. I wore the same gear as yesterday and once again, I was fine. It's still very dark in some spots of Stanley but I'm able to continue on because the trail is so familiar to me. I do slow down though, in case there is a branch or some other obstacle.

My feet were dry when I got back in this morning. That felt so nice. I guess I managed to stay out of the puddles today.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Burrard Bridge revisited

Temp: 9 degrees
Precip: very light rain, mostly

Today I decided to try riding without the sweat pants and it turns out I was fine. So I was over dressing recently, at least once the temperatures warmed up. My rain pants are very good at keeping the water off my legs, so with regular biking shorts and knee warmers, I was fine. More importantly, I'm still wearing a toque under my helmet and I'm sure that is helping lots.

My feet still get wet. That's all there is to say about that.

So today I rode into Kitsilano, one of Vancouver's more expensive neighborhoods. This of course had me go across the Burrard St. bridge, which is always a nice ride. I made it as far as Alma street, which is actually into Point Grey and almost to UBC. I debated riding around the campus but was a little pressed for time so I headed back instead.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Temperature in the double digits!

Temp: 10 degrees
Precip: None!
cycling shorts, leg warmers, socks, thinner grey sweat pants under rain pants
t-shirt under cycling jersey with arm warmers under a sweater and rain shell
toque on my head and regular socks in worn sneakers

This morning was warm AND without rain. I felt so lucky riding today. While there was no rain falling, the roads were still plenty wet. This was especially true in the park, where runoff continues to make muddy sections of the sea wall. This is what fenders are for and mine caught a lot of the mud (but not all).

Near the end of the ride I stopped in at the office because I knew I had some chain lubricant there and after yesterday's significant rinsing, I knew the bike would need some. A quick check of my tire pressure and I was off again, to return home.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Superwet Friday

Temp: 8 degrees
Precip: constant rain

I just love how Vancouver weather tends to clear off about half an hour after I arrive at the office. It was warm though, so I persisted to do a full ride around the park. Of course that meant I had soaked feet and hands - I forgot how the colour in my gloves bleeds when they get wet - my hands were ink stained by the end of the ride.

With this much rain, I also noticed that it was very dark. There was one section on the back side of the park where I had to slow down because I knew where the road was supposed to go, but I couldn't quite see it clearly. I didn't like the idea of suddenly riding off a curb without knowing it. Luckily that didn't happen.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Got out before the snow arrives

Temp: -2 deg
Precip: none
Listening to: Kevin Pollak's Chat show
A brisk, cold ride this morning. Did a single lap around Stanley Park and found I had to pull my fingers out of my gloves and make fists to prevent frostbite. One thing that was nice was there was no wind. The water was like glass in the marina, reflecting back the city lights perfectly.

Again with the brakes, I really should not have put off adjusting them as long as I did. It feels like a brand new bike again. On today's ride I really needed them too, as the far side of Stanley Park was pretty icy. This is normal, given the amount of runoff that comes off the cliffs.

Oh yeah, on yesterday's ride I was interrupted briefly by a family of sea otters as they crossed the sea wall into their home under a tree. Pretty cool, and it happened too fast for me to get out my camera (it's usually in a pocket 2 or 3 layers deep).

Monday, January 10, 2011

Adjusted for more stopping power

Temp: -3 deg, no precipitation

It's still dark when I leave for my rides but is generally starting to brighten by the time the ride ends. Last night I adjusted the brakes on my bike and am happy with the result. Honestly, the thought of heading out into the cold this morning wasn't very appealing to me, but wanting to test out the new brake setup was a more powerful draw. Well that and the fact that my snoring kept Holly up most of last night, which indicates I need to bike MORE frequently, not LESS.

As I was riding I couldn't help but realize just how well my bike continues to work, day in and day out. It's about 15 years old now, well at least the frame. Much of it has been upgraded over the years but things like the headset and wheelset feel solid and true. Overall, not a bad ride today.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Saturday Sunshine

Temp: somewhere between 2 and 4 degrees
Precip: none (yay!)
I have a feeling I am going to recycle my blog titles soon. Today I decided to ride into greater Vancouver, making a point to cross over Burrard bridge. I used this bridge a lot when I was commuting and really like the view. I briefly stopped into the office because well, they have a good bicycle pump there and my tires needed a little air.

I was wearing quite a bit today because I knew it was not going to be as warm as yesterday, even without the rain. I had my coat over the rain shell and was wearing double gloves, as well as the rest of my gear. Oh, and I put a thicker pair of sweatpants under my cycling pants too - that really helped with staying warm. Even with all of this on, I never really got 'hot'. I was comfortable though, so I'm glad I went with the extra layers and didn't try to go with less.

Today was also the first day I rode with my ipod again, after breaking the glass on it. Thanks to my wife's support and suggestion, I am going to attempt to repair it, as it still has life in it. Expect a separate blog post to deal with that.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Soggy Ride today

It was about 8 degrees this morning, and raining heavily when I set out. My plan was to bike around the Stanley Park sea wall instead of biking to the top of the hill at Point Roberts. This was because I didn't really like the idea of riding down the hill and having my face pelted with rain at 40-60 kph.

I didn't like the idea of negotiating around a rockslide either, so when I saw the barricades up preventing me from taking the low road I prepared for a climb. As expected, the descent was very wet and the rain was pelting me in the face pretty hard, so I controlled my speed as best I could with wet brakes as I rode down the hill. Wow. This sounded so much better this morning as I was thinking of what I would say.

Anyway, by the time I made it into the office later that morning it had stopped raining and the sun came out. I knew I should have been out riding the night before, when it was dry.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Wimpy Ride report, and two cups of tea

I wimped out on today's ride. I slept a lot last night, but still I was unable (or unwilling) to push myself for very long. I will have to go longer tomorrow, this is plenty of rest, even if I am fighting off a cold (still).

The temperature was about 5ยบ C and it was raining - not hard rain and my gear was up to the task, keeping me dry and not cold. Only one pair of gloves today, with the toque under the helmet, and I was back to the wet weather cycling shell instead of a heavier coat. It seemed to be okay with a sweatshirt underneath. My sweatpants were in the laundry hamper so I went with my rain pants and knee warmers which also served me well. I probably would have found another pair of sweats if it was colder.

Last night, while skyping with my parents, Holly brewed me up a cup of tea to help clear my throat a bit before I settled down. It was delicious, so once I arrived at work I figured a cup of tea would be just the thing - but this is horrible bitterness in comparison. I don't know how people drink this shit, honestly. (I'm going to finish the cup though because bitter or no, I bet it's good for me somehow.) I probably overbrewed it, or had too much of it or something. Either way, I think I prefer my wife's tastes in teas. This stuff is just nasty.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Ride Report: Jan 4

It's supposed to snow a lot today, at least in terms of Vancouver snow. When I got up this morning though, it had not yet started so I was able to head out ahead of the forecasted storm. Temperatures were around freezing, which is a little milder than the past few days. As such, I didn't need the second pair of gloves, or the extra coat. I was cold, but it was bearable.

Unlike yesterday, there was no fog bank to ride through but there was still quite a bit of frost on the streets. I noted that it was unpredictable as to where I would encounter it. Some streets would be bare and dry while others frosted over white. Then there were the inconsistent sections as well. So long as I wasn't standing on my pedals though, I was fine with my slick tires. At least so far.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Prepare for another inversion?

I had the luxury of not heading out on my bike ride until a few hours later today, which meant I could bike in the sun. While the sun was indeed out, as I got down by the water I was enveloped in a thick fog bank.

Normally I like fog. The thicker the better. Today's was a pretty cold one, as I was noticing frost forming on the outside of my jacket as I was riding. But, I had my two pair of gloves on, and multiple layers, so it wasn't until I was riding down the hill from Prospect Point in Stanley Park that I started to freeze out my feet.

Mental note: investigate my options for insulated shoe covers.

Today's ride was nice. I like how quiet it gets in a fog bank. It reminded me of when we had a weather inversion a couple years back, although this was nowhere near as extensive. I'm glad I set out when I did, as I am sure that by now the fog has burned off.